Showing posts with label _Interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label _Interview. Show all posts

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bang Interview with Frank Ferrara, courtesy of Lucille over at Controradio Firenze



Bang in 1972 (l-r) Frank Ferrara, Tony Diorio, Frank Gilcken
(picture from Bang's facebook page)
Download from: [mf] or [yd]

Hi again! Last year the Philadelphia band Bang, who I presume most of you will know by now (appearing on Vol 1 after all!), made a concerted effort to play frequently and see parts of the world that had eluded them during their three-album tenure with Capitol Records in the early seventies. Previous to that, they had played a few reunion shows since the 2000's, and Rise Above's 2010 box set remaster of their records.

Just prior to their 2016 tour of Europe, Lucille aka Lucyfer of Controradio Firenze in Italy (podcast archive here) interviewed Bang's frontman Frank Ferrara and they talked about the band's past and present career, as well as their rekindled enthusiasm to play again more regularly. At the time, Lucille offered to contribute the interview to TDATS, but unfortunately that was around the time I was taking a hiatus from doing the blog. So, here it is now, transcribed by myself. Better late than never!

Listen here and read my transcription following



Interview

Lucille: It’s a great honour to introduce a very special guest, Frank Ferrara from Bang is with us tonight. Hi Frank!

Frank at a show this year
(2017
)
Frank: Thank you so much, hello everybody.

Lucille: Bang is a band that is familiar to the listeners of this show, as I often play Bang songs here, and Frank is the bassist and singer from the original line up. So Frank, first I would like you to tell us something about the roots of Bang, going back to the starting point of your career, and that would be the show in Orlando in 1971 when you played on the same stage as Rod Stewart and Deep Purple. Would you tell us about that crucial show?

Frank: Three days before the Rod Stewart / Deep Purple show [and before we knew anything about it] we had left Philadelphia in a station wagon with a trailer, and were heading to Florida [with the intention of finding places to play there]. We really had no particular place to go, we had our equipment, we had gotten some marijuana, and we stopped to buy some rolling papers.

We were at Daytona Beach which was maybe two or three hours from Orlando and we went into a record store to buy some rolling papers, there was a poster on the wall that said ‘Battle of the Bands’, so we asked the guy behind the counter where that was because we wanted to play the show. He said it was an old poster and that show was last week. “If you guys have a band, Deep Purple and Rod Stewart are playing in Orlando, why don’t you go there? Maybe they’ll let you play.”

So, we spent that night in a tent, drinking some beer and just talking and talking, and we decided “yeah what the hell, why don’t we see if we can go play the show?” We got up the next day, drove to Orlando and pulled behind the venue where the show was. We knocked on the door, this guy came out and we introduced ourselves as Bang from Philadelphia, “We’re the best fuckin' band in the world and we want to play tonight”. He let us in to set up our stuff. So, we had talked our way in to opening up for Deep Purple and Small Faces!

Everything in life is about timing, seventy two hours earlier we were just driving to Florida with a U-Haul with no idea what would happen. So we took a chance and, y’know, it was amazing. Opening up with Faces and Deep Purple, around the time that Purple’s Machine Head had just come out.

Lucille: You said it was a question of timing, but I think it was a mixture of fate and boldness, because you were really bold to force that hand of fate, so to say.

Frank: We had to. Here’s the thing, because we rehearsed every night for eighteen months, I mean every night, we’re talking seven days a week. We were always together, we learnt how to write and we became very tight, we were three people as one basically. When we went to Florida we were ready, we really believed in each other, and it’s funny you say that because the promotor guy who answered the door said, “Hey man, you guys’ got balls like this, and you sound good.”

If you don’t believe in yourself Lucille, nobody else is going to believe in you. That’s the kind of attitude you have to project from the stage, I think you can tell that with most bands, if they really like each other or if they’re just going through the motions. Our music was good (thank you God) but I think the promotor saw our determination and our desire, which was just as much why we got the show as the music itself.

Lucille: What happened then? A short time after playing that gig you got a contract with Capitol Records.

Frank: We played while the people were coming in, the lights were still on, and we had about two feet of stage left to use, it was a very small thing. The promoter of the show Rick Bowen said “You guys did really well. Listen, you’re going to Florida, down to Fort Lauderdale where I’m doing a show with Steppenwolf next week, if you guys wanna open up the show.”

Right away he took an interest in us. He said he had a hotel in Fort Lauderdale where we could stay. We waited a week and we drove to Richmond to do the Steppenwolf show. After that he asked if we wanted to do another show with The Guess Who, and at that point, when we stayed at the hotel in Fort Lauderdale, there was a studio there, Criteria Studios, which went on to be one of the bigger studios at that time. We went in and did our demo, of Death of a Country, which is what we’d been working on for eighteen months in the basement. So after the Faces-Purple concert we did two or three more shows, we did the demo and then Capitol and Atlantic Records were both interested in the band, and we were waiting to see which one of those to go with.

Lucille: We know you decided to go with Capitol, it doesn’t sound like you had an idyllic partnership with them, in fact Capitol decided not to release Death of a Country. What were the reasons behind that decision?

Frank: Capitol Records at the time was very middle-of-the-road. Atlantic had all the hard rock groups, Zeppelin etc, everyone that was heavy, and Capitol was more of a contemporary label. They were just getting ready to lose Grand Funk Railroad. They came back to us and said they didn’t think a debut concept album would be commercial enough to put out. Now, the only reason we went with Capitol was because The Beatles were on there, they were our heroes. We were kids, we were 18 years old, we trusted everybody at that age. We thought Capitol Records would do right by the band.

What was happening was they didn’t believe in Death of a Country so they gave us two weeks to write another album. They sent a producer down, he said they don’t want to release DoaC, they think it will go over everyone’s head. So we were disillusioned, but what did we know? We were the musicians, we trusted them. It’s your record company, you sign with them, you trust them because as a musician, you never know the business side of music, which is nothing like the real side of music.

Lucille: In fact you were kind of forced to change a lot, because Death of a Country is more of a spiritual, eco-friendly, psychedelic concept album with some hard rock, while your self-titled debut is more hard rock, more Black Sabbath-style, so you had to change a lot?

Frank: Back in the seventies, bands did two albums a year, so you only had six months in between recordings before you recorded another record. We had two weeks to write the Bang album which in my mind wasn’t a whole lot of time. But we did it, because we knew we could write songs. Still, at the time Capitol was trying to make us more commercial, more commercial, more commercial, so after we did DoaC in the studio they rejected it and we had to write a whole different style of music.

They used to call us the Grand Black Zeppelin and say we sounded like Grand Funk, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin all rolled in to one. To me it was like “Wow, if we’re that good we should be bigger than The Beatles ya’know. We were writing all kinds of music and Capitol wanted top-40 hits. They kept giving us the pressure, “We need a hit record, we need a hit record”.

We weren’t a top-40 band, we were a concert band. We were a band you watched to see a show, we didn’t have hooks, we weren’t Helen Reddy, we weren’t The Raspberries, but Capitol kept sending us stuff and we were like “Why did we even sign with these guys?” If they didn’t believe in our music and were trying to change it why did they even sign us?

Lucille: It doesn’t make any sense

Frank: It doesn’t make any sense. That was where we learned that “the music business” is the business of music, like selling shoes, it’s not about heart. When you write a song it’s about heart, it’s about your spirit, but you gotta sell records, how many are you going to sell? It’s like selling shoes. We learned right away that this is not good. It was disillusioning, it was like an oxymoron.

We went to Woodstock, it’s like a happy feeling, you think everybody’s your friend and then you find out that it’s not really like that at all. It’s about making money. It broke our hearts because we really believed in Death of a Country. I’ve always thought “Wow, maybe if they did release DoaC we might never have made the Bang album.” You don’t know why things happen in life, maybe if we had released DoaC it wouldn’t have done anything.

Lucille: But in some way the commercial ideas of Capitol succeeded, there was a time when Bang were quite famous because you were in the charts.

Frank: Yes, our first single “Questions” was in the forties on the charts and it went to #2 in Hong Kong, it was like #2 on the moon or something. Again, the business took over and they stopped working that record. Long story short, I think what happened with the band was, six months after Bang was signed with the label, Capitol records got a new president and our producer went to Epic records. Everybody at Capitol tower in Hollywood that was behind our band was gone. So at that point other producers and other bands were coming in and all the producers pushed their bands, they don’t care about some other producer’s band. They move to something else, “We work them for a couple of months then let’s move to something else.”

It never mattered to us, sure it was frustrating but we knew we could write songs and we knew we were good and we just tried to keep the faith. That’s what you gotta do, you gotta face adversity and plough ahead because like I was saying before, if you don’t believe it, nobody else will believe it. You have to do that in anything in life really.

Lucille: What about your last record with Capitol, it was 1973 and it was called simply “Music”. It was more pop-melodic, somehow almost Beatles-esque. What inspired that change?

Humble from Mother/Bow to the King


Frank: Even on DoaC we always did a lot of harmony. I think harmony in vocals is just as important as the instruments and we liked the two-part and three-part harmonies. The thing with “Music”, that was our final thing with Capitol. After the Bang album they basically made us change drummers right before the Mother album which was our second album. So we ended up recording the Mother album and Music with a different drummer. The continuity was getting worse and worse, we did “No Sugar Tonight” by The Guess Who just because Capitol was pushing us to get a hit record and by the time we did the Music album we changed our sound, we changed our style because we were trying to do what the label wanted us to do. We got more commercial, that’s why the Music album is so different.
Hey ya’know what? Bang was always Tony Diorio’s lyrics, Frank Gilcken’s guitar and my melodies and vocals. Even though the album is not heavy and in your face, I think we have some great songs on that record.

Lucille: I like that album very much, it’s a very good album. 

Frank Gilcken (guitar)
at a show this year
Frank: The people that liked the Bang album which was much heavier thought we had sold-out by the Music album, we didn’t sound hard & heavy and Frankie’s guitar wasn’t in your face, it was more of a pop record but hey, for us, I think if you try to sound the same on every record you get stale. We were young, I think as musicians you follow your talent where it takes you. I don’t want to make the same record over and over again, that would be boring and back then it was fun to write some different kinds of songs, to use the Mellotron, to do all those things back then. It was fun changing and we evolved. Not that we couldn’t write anything heavy, that’s just not the mood we were in that day ya’know? That’s what music is, it’s a mood and you’re in a different mood every half hour.

Lucille: After many years, Death of a Country finally saw the light when it was re-issued by Rise Above records. How did the collaboration with Rise Above start?

Rise Above's Bang box set
"Bullets"
Frank: Lee Dorian approached us, he was a long-time Bang fan, and he said he’d love to do a box set of our records. By then we’d just started playing again, it was a great idea and we were very flattered that somebody wanted to do a “box set”. Lee and Rise Above did a great job and we were very happy with it. It came from Lee getting a hold of us, getting a hold of our drummer/lyricist Tony Diorio and we just struck a deal for them to put the box set together. 

Lucille: And it’s a deluxe remastered CD set with everything you made right?

Frank: Yes, it was our entire Capitol catalogue.

Cover sticker from the "Bullets" box set: "Limited Edition Four CD Mini LP Box set containing three classic full-length albums released between 1971 and 1973. Also includes the "unreleased at the time" debut album Death of a Country. Plus forty-page collectors booklet and Exclusive sticker. Black Sabbath heaviness meets Grand Funk Groove & catchy as hell"

Lucille: You are from Philadelphia, a place that was more into sweet soul music than hard rock at that time, so how was it to play hard rock there in the seventies?

Frank: It was the same as it was in New York, as it was in Florida. If you liked hard rock that’s the kind of music that you wrote, as kids we loved Black Sabbath, there were a lot of bands that we loved, and you’d play those songs and a little bit of influence comes off. That’s why we were compared to Sabbath a little bit because we had that kind of style. That just comes from what you grow up with, Philadelphia was known as a big Soul town but we were hard rockers ‘cuz we loved The Cream and Jimi Hendrix, that’s the kind of music that we wrote, learned a lot of different music and we started writing music with bits and pieces of everybody we loved.

You say it sounds like The Beatles too, that was because we loved The Beatles and there’s a little bit of something in each song that reflects what your influences are. That’s what we’re finding out today with these Bang shows, we’re playing in front of 20-30 year olds that weren’t even born when we wrote this music and for them to say “Hey, you inspired us to write music”, it reminds me that we were inspired by somebody when we started. So that aspiration turned into being part of our song-writing. We didn’t have a Philadelphia style because we liked hard rock, we were a hard rock band.

Lucille: You are widely considered as forerunners of the doom metal genre, how is it to be considered as a seminal band in that sense?

Frank: You know what? Whatever sense, our Bang album went to the heavy metal hall of fame six months ago. To me, whatever genre or whatever mode it goes into we’re grateful for it. I never thought of us as a doom band because I thought we were always more of a rock ‘n’ roll band. Doom is sludge kinda stuff, we were more about having a groove, there was a difference in our music, but hey, if it’s stoner rock, if it’s acid rock, if it’s hip hop, whoever loves us we’re grateful for it but to me I don’t see us as that kind of band because every album we did was different. We didn’t stay in that vein, coz we were being pushed by Capitol to be commercial and do something else. They expected the Bang record to take off and sell a million copies, and when it didn’t they were trying to push us to be more commercial and so we lost that vein.

Back in ’71-’72 hard rock was really obscure, it wasn’t radio-friendly, they didn’t even have FM radio back then, everything was AM so it was just the beginning of everything and we kinda got lost in the shuffle. But we’re very happy to be attached to stoner & doom rock. We did a tour with Pentagram and our music fitted right in with theirs and people loved it and that’s good with us.

Lucille: So after many years of silence, Bang are back and touring again. Why have you decided to bring the band back again?

Frank: I think we were so young the first time around, we’ve had forty years of really nothing going on. We all went our separate ways and when we reformed and put a website up we started getting fan letters. It made us realise the music was still valid and we still had an audience out there. Time went around and the stars aligned for Tony, Frank and me. Our legacy is not done, we hadn’t seen each other in 25 years and within a week we had written 15 songs.

Once you have magic with somebody it never goes away, and I think when we got back together again, we realised that we still had a lot to offer so we decided to go back and do what we love, we’re musicians, we love to play. At that point the buzz got out that we were back and we were lucky enough to get the Pentagram tour and get back out there. That was our first tour in 42 years and to be out there playing again and realising “Wow, people love our music”, that’s what brought us back. The fact that the music is still strong and it’s still original and I think what goes around comes around, our music was just as good as anybody’s and it was time to go play it and have fun.

Frank had the time and the enthusiasm to do it again. That one hour you play on stage, that’s the reward for putting up with a lot of trials and tribulations along the way, that’s really when a band has the most fun, when you’re on stage playing for that hour. That’s what makes everything worth it. We just want to finish what we started, add on to our legacy, hopefully do a couple more records and see where it goes, before we’re in the rock’n’roll heaven with David and Lemmy, coz we’re at that age.

Lucille: It’s terrible, [the recent rock’n’roll deaths are] getting really depressing 
      
Frank: When I tell you we had 30 year-olds coming out, I think now old music is out-selling new music, I think the young people don’t have what we had and they appreciate it now because they don’t have it. I think it’s a great thing because to me the sixties and seventies was the best era in music. Everybody had their brand, The Who was The Who, Zeppelin was Zeppelin, there was nobody sounding like anybody else. Now you got a billion bands you couldn’t tell one from the other because they all sound the same and I think the golden age of music is really over with. I don’t think we’ll ever have the phenomenon of The Eagles, or The Beatles, Bowie, who was just tremendous. I don’t think that will ever happen again actually, which is a shame.

Starting in April 2016, Bang did their first European tour, which visited the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and Portugal. During the interview Frank described his anticipation for that tour:

We’re like children at Christmas time. I really appreciate the fact that we’re able to go to Europe. If I was a young man it might not be a big deal. “Oh big deal I’m going to Europe” ya’know, but at this point in our lives we’re just very thankful that our music stayed strong enough to be able to get somebody to bring us to Europe. We broke up right before we were scheduled to go to there, to go to the UK and do a tour with Rod Stewart because we played with him right when Maggie May was a hit, we broke up right before that and we were never able to go to Europe. At 62 years old I’m now getting the chance to do what I should have done when I was 20. European fans are the most loyal of any fan, it’s quite different in America coz there’s so much going on here. Europeans still have the old values, the old virtues.

Lucille: Some of them yeah haha

Frank: It’s the thrill of playing to people that I wouldn’t normally see, in places I’ve always dreamed of going to. If I can be on stage playing and doing what I love, I could die right then and I’d be the happiest man in the world because to me success isn’t about money, it’s about doing what you love and you have a passion for. A lot of people take opportunities for granted, but I think the older you get, the more you appreciate when something happens, you have to enjoy the moment. To me there’s a special saying of Shakespeare’s: “Expectation is the root of all heartache” so in my mind, do what you love and don’t expect anything, if you think too big then you’re just going to be heart-broken.

--------------------------------------------------------- 

And that concluded the interview. This year, Bang has so-far played a few shows in the US and has chalked-up some more Europen shows for the summer. Check them out in the touring section of Bang's facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Bangtheband/app/123966167614127/
So far they have mentioned dates in Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark!

Finally, thanks to Lucille for allowing me to post this interview!

Still Bangin' away in 2017!

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Fort Mudge Memorial Dump interview with guitarist Dan Keady


Fort Mudge Memorial Dump


Listen via youtube
Thanks to Black Widow's channel (link)

Also on Spotify

Happy new year. TDATS is in its ninth year now, and still going, so thanks to all those who have shown support and welcome to the first post of 2017!

The Fort Mudge Memorial Dump was a prime psychedelic band from around Walpole and Boston in Massachusetts. They released one LP during their peak in 1969 and it's been a steady grower for me ever since I heard it a few years ago. A rich and varied LP which has something to offer everyone into vintage rock sounds. As was typical at the time, there were less genre constraints and expectations back then and you'll hear blues, folk, country and hard rock sounds mingling happily, with male and female vocals from various members of the band. These were David Amaral [bass], Jim Deptula [drums], Caroline Stratton [vocals], Danny Keady [guitar, vocals] and Rick Clerici [guitar, vocals]. Interestingly, comedian and actor Martin Mull (Roseanne, Mrs. Doubtfire, Veep) made a small contribution to the LP too.

As is often the case when I am looking into bands to include in mixes (Fort Mudge has appeared in three so far: Vol95Vol97 and Vol117), there was a surprising lack of general information about the band and their album, so I attempted to track down a few key members, eventually getting in touch with founding guitarist Dan Keady. He still plays and is currently in South West Florida's Deb & The Dynamics, where he now lives (link). He's kindly agreed to answer a few questions!

Interview with Dan Keady

Dan in a recent show
Hi Dan! Can you give us some background about how you originally became a musician and some key events leading up to being in Fort Mudge?

Dan: I started playing guitar at age 14 and sucked at it for a year or two but eventually put a band together made up of neighbourhood kids playing instrumental guitar music like the Ventures and surf groups. I used to go to see Rick play at the local record hops and he was doing the same kind of music. All that changed when the Beatles arrived and we all had to learn how to sing [and buy mics and vocal amps etc]. I ended up in a band that my older brother left for a gig in Boston. This was Walpole Massachusetts big time band Little John's Nocturnes.

How did you and Rick get together with David, Jim and Caroline to start The Fort Mudge Memorial Dump, and where did that colourful name come from?

While in Little John's Nocturnes playing soul music hits I met Caroline who was doing a folk jam with Rick. We decided that a folk rock band might get us an audience so we added drums and bass. David [bass] was younger than us and playing with a garage band down the street when we recruited him. The first drummer Al Barnicote just wanted to jam and recommended we replace him if we were going to rehearse and write every Tuesday night at my parents house.

Jim "Chicky" Deptula was my drummer in earlier bands and could play well had great hair but was a troubled kid. We spent about a year just jamming and playing Rick and Caroline's varied compositions until they morphed into the crazy mess that is Fort Mudge. The name came from Walt Kelly's comic "Pogo". If the band had been more successful we probably would have had to change the name as it was used without permission.

Pogo comic March 3, 1968 - Full page - Source
Excerpt from Wikipedia (link): "Pogo [Comic, est 1913] is set in the Georgia section of the Okefenokee Swamp; [the Georgia locales of] Fort Mudge and Waycross are occasionally mentioned. The characters live, for the most part, in hollow trees amidst lushly rendered backdrops of North American wetlands, bayous, lagoons and backwoods. Fictitious local landmarks — such as "Miggle’s General Store and Emporium" and the "Fort Mudge Memorial Dump," are occasionally featured."

Can you tell us some things about life in the band? Where did you play shows?

We heard about free concerts on Sunday afternoons at Cambridge Commons near Harvard University and went to check them out. The guys running it said we were welcome to come and play our own material for their crowd [not the standard thing in those days]. We played every Sunday that summer [1968 I think]. At the end they offered to manage us and make us stars. One was eliminated when he started messing with the money [we were playing colleges and high schools by then] and Ron Beaton became our manager with the agreement that he wouldn't get paid until we got signed with a record company.

He formed Moonstone management and went to New York bringing our demo to everyone that would listen. I guess the "Boston sound" had attracted some attention and bands were getting signed and selling records. A few reps came up to see us but the summer of 69 saw a great increase in our audience at the free concerts in Cambridge. So we got a rep from Mercury to come up for a weekend to see us play for a thousand people at a university followed by our headlining the Sunday concert for 8000 or more.

Fort Mudge in front of a home crowd at Walpole Mass.

How did the recording of the album come about, and how did comedian/actor Martin Mull get involved and what did he contribute on the album?

The Mercury rep reported back to NY that we were extremely popular and should be signed. Of course it took months to get the deal done and the rep was long gone by the time we recorded a note. We recorded in Boston in what would later become The Cars' studio [Petrucci & Atwell Sound Studios]. Martin Mull was a struggling musician and house guitar player at the studio. He lent me his Gibson ES-335 for 'blues tune' and entertained us between takes. Once the basic tracks were laid down half of the band just hung out in the front office with Martin while others did overdubs and vocals. Rick Clerici played all the acoustic guitar parts as well as electric on his songs. Most of the noisy stuff is me.

Did the producer Michael Tschudin and engineer William Wolf  have significant input in the record?


The producer Michael Tschudin played all keyboard tracks including picked piano and other odd sounds. Bill Wolf was a bass player and insisted that David use his old Fender bass because it sounded better than David's Gibson EB3. That was his opinion but he insisted like it was fact. I felt bad for David who was very young but accomplished on his instrument and he clearly didn't like the Fender's high action and dead sound but in the end it sounded great.

(l-r) David Amaral [bass], Jim Deptula [drums], Caroline Stratton [vocals]
Danny Keady [guitar, vocals] Rick Clerici [guitar,vocals]

The album is ambitious and diverse, there’s some heavy fuzz guitar on tracks like 'The Seventh Is Death' and 'The Singer', there's blues like 'Blue's Tune' and there's mellow orchestrated songs like 'Actions Of A Man' and 'What Good Is Spring'. No two songs are really alike. Can you explain how such a diverse mixture of styles and instrumentation came to be included?

The songs were written by very different people and we were intentionally not listening to any other music so that we could develop an original sound. I'm told my leadership and arranging were very heavy handed and led to the demise of this version of the band but it was successful and I felt that the band needed a direction.

What equipment did you use to get your sound on the LP?

I was mostly using a Gibson SG special running into a fuzz and wah wah pedal [only on sometimes] then into a Marshall 100W Plexi Superlead amp. I did use Martin Mull's Gibson ES-335 for Blue's Tune and possibly other overdub solos.

Is it you singing on 'Blue's Tune' (which is credited to you)?

Yeah that's me trying to sound blackish. I'm still the blues singer these days, and was also the 'B' in Southwest Fla.'s The R&B Connection in the 90's (the CD is probably on youtube), as the bass player used to say. I am featured doing blues songs on all the latest releases from Deb & The Dynamics.

Front cover
The Fort Mudge Memorial Dump - S/T

Mercury ‎- SR 61256 (1969)

Tracks:
A] Mr. Man / Crystal Forms / Actions Of A Man / Blue's Tune

B] The Seventh Is Death / What Good Is Spring? / Tomorrow / Know Today / Questionable Answer / The Singer

Are you able to give any personal insight into the meaning of “The Singer”? It’s a heavy and foreboding sound that I really dig, along with all your (as always) inventive guitar parts!

If I recall, Rick said The Singer represented good. Like Jesus or Martin Luther King preaching non-violence and, as in the last verse, parents can create hateful children who can grow up to be The Singer's executioners.

Do you have any favourite tunes from the LP?

I still like 'The Singer'. Both musically and lyrically it still holds up today, although my guitar tone has improved quite a bit. I also like 'Tomorrow' for the lyrics and the sounds ...a lot went into the background to get that done.

What was the public/critical reception of the record on release? From what you've said previously, I presume the LP lineup didn't last long after it was made?

In the Boston area we were an instant success. I remember Caroline and I going to a big record outlet and seeing boxes of our LPs stacked up. They were just cutting them open and stacking them. They said sales were so good that they couldn't bother loading into the bins like other records.



Unfortunately Mercury provided no display stands or posters to make us look like a successful band. I do remember hearing that the same brisk sales were reported on the west coast. Mercury blew the promo money on full page trade magazine ads which made us feel great but didn't do the band any real good. They also didn't have any successful acts to put us on tour with so most of the world had no knowledge of us. This led to bad bookings in clubs and such that had no interest in an original act with no hits on the radio. Rick and Dave left to form Brother Ralph a 'Kansas' like lineup of guitars, saxophones and violins. They were great and I did record a demo of them but they were never signed

Fort Mudge's album has been re-released by Mercury and there is a lot of buzz online from all over the world. My daughter recently found a band doing covers of these songs selling downloads online. I had several different versions of Fort Mudge, one even did another never-released album. We eventually morphed into 'FM'. then 'Madeinusa' and finally 'Love Lace' [featuring Mudge's Caroline Stratton and Chicky Deptula]. There's plenty about all that online.




Thanks Dan! And thanks for the music. It would be great to hear the un-released Fort Mudge album one day...

Check out Dan's current band at Deb & The Dynamics.net


Dan on stage with Deb & The Dynamics


Thanks for reading!
Some other TDATS interviews:

Neil Merryweather (Vol68| Heat Exchange (Vol96)
Iron Claw interview with Jim Ronnie Jodo Interview with Rod Alexander
Castle Farm Interview with Steve Traveller
Cobra interview with Rob Vunderink (Vol111)
Roy Rutanen interview | Stonehouse interview with Jim Smith
Panda interview with Jaap van Eik (Vol119)
Universe interview with Steve Finn part 1
Gun / Three Man Army interview with Paul Gurvitz (Vol125)
Blue Planet interview with Art Bausch (Vol127)

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

TDATS #127: Blue Planet [inc. Cinderella and Art Bausch interview]


Download at [mf] or [mg] or [yd]
password:  tdats



TDATS 127: Blue Planet [band history and interviews] by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

The Netherlands was surely home to many rocking pop bands back in the early days, and Blue Planet was one of the best. Presented here is all the music they recorded. Something of a TDATS tradition now, we have another focus on a Dutch band that only made a few 45s. Blue Planet was cultivated in The Hague, a European rock mecca to rival London and Hamburg in its heyday. Their singles possess heaviness, deceptively wrapped in a hook-laden glam/pop disguise, a talent that many other Dutch bands of the time had. One major quality of BP which jumps out is the vocals of Ron Bausch. They have an emotive strength, but also vulnerability, that gets you straight away. Reminding maybe of Rod Stewart, minus the whiskey-soaked gravel.

Included below is an interview I conducted with the drummer of Blue Planet, Art Bausch. He was really helpful and more than happy to answer anything I asked. He has great enthusiasm for the times and says that he really enjoyed every minute of Blue Planet, even though after the big break of touring with Golden Earring, the band didn't realise its potential in the end, and there were a few sad consequences of the rock n roll life style. He still plays today. I also got a few answers regarding the early days from bassist Peter Wassenaar. Peter in particular painted a picture of the The Hague and Scheveningen being exciting and heady places to be for players and fans, with happening clubs like The Scala, Club 192 and The Flying Dutchman.

As is the case with other talented Dutch singles bands that have appeared here before, including Cobra (Vol111) and Panda (Vol119), some Blue Planet members are associated with Dutch bands that had greater success, and made albums. Guitarist Aad van der Kreeft was in InCrowd, The George Cash band, Big Wheel, Twelve O'Clock and later, Think Tank. He currently plays in Electric Blues (link). Drummer Art Bausch was in Barrelhouse, Trail, later in Livin' Blues, and still plays with The Oscar Benton Band. Bassist Peter Wassenaar was later in Galaxy Lin. All these guys have played in many other bands and musical projects up to the current day. Aad in particular, is an admired guitarist, and you only have to hear his understated, fluid ability, adding to every one of BP's songs, to see why.

I must say many thanks to Marc Emmerik of Dutch band Vitamin X (fb), who has always been a great help with this blog and in this case pointed me to some great newspaper articles and translations! Alex Gitlin's Nederpop Files (link) were also very useful as usual.


Blue Planet Discography

1970
I'm Going Man I'm Going / Nothing in the World
Philips 6075 105
'I'm Going Man I'm Going' was the band's first release and it was their most successful one too, reaching no 16 in the charts. It is grinding, melodic and memorable, Ron Bausch's vocals are immediately arresting and invoke sympathy. Flipside 'Nothing in the World' is heavier, starting out with a stomping riff and great guitar hooks from Aad.


Boy / Climb the Mountain
Philips 6075 110
'Boy' is another memorable track which has a story to tell of a young guy learning the ways of the world. Flipside 'Climb the Mountain' is a slower pensive tune which again highlights Aad's great double-tracked electric and acoustic guitar skills.



1971
Times and Changes / Please Don't Shake Me Baby
Philips 6075 128
The final Blue Planet single goes in a different direction and contains two upbeat country-flavoured tracks, with 'Please Don't Shake Me Baby' having the most grit. US Country rock had an influence in The Netherlands around this time.


Cinderella
From Town to Town / The Love That We've Got
Imperial 5C 006-24448
Although the cover shows a full, mostly-female band called Cinderella, all the music on this unique single was played by Art, Aad and Peter of Blue Planet. It was written by Betty Raatgever who started the band Cinderella. Both sides are fantastic, including a richly-shimmering folk ballad with a stella closing solo from Aad and a heavy glam stomper which could be mistaken for one of Blondie's heavier tracks.



Interview with Blue Planet drummer, Art Bausch

Following is a phone interview I took with Art about six months ago. Since then he has come back from a successful international run of shows with the Oscar Benton Band.

Art Bausch in recent times
Me: Hi Art.

Art: First I want to say it’s very nice that you from England are so interested in this period of music and Dutch bands. Back then in the ‘70s we were in our twenties and we learnt it from the old guys.

Me: It was all still relatively close to the days of the beginning of Rock n’ Roll in the 40s and 50s. Things hadn’t changed too much at that point. I’ve always been drawn towards the sound of the ‘70s, no digital technology in those days, you had valves and organic-sounding instruments and production.

Art: Yes, and it was very loud. Next to me I had 400watts bass equipment and on the other side I had 400watts guitar. The old Marshal amps. And my brother the singer had a 600 watt installation, we didn’t have a PA system at that time, but the drummer (myself) wasn’t mic’d up. Because it cost a fortune for drum heads and sticks and foot pedals, cymbals, because I just ruined them competing with the sound next to me, but, it worked haha.

Me: I noticed the BP singer had the same surname as you but I wasn’t completely sure that you were related.

Art: Ron Bausch was my older brother.

Me: How did you get into being a musician in the first place?

Art: Ah well, I can speak for my brother too. My father was a military man. He was an airplane mechanic. He was also a very talented young man, he came from Indonesia, from a family with money. He played classical violin. He came to Holland just before the war broke out in 1939. Just before he came to Holland at the age of fifteen, he had a scholarship arranged to study violin in the Hague but a week before he arrived by boat in Holland hell fell with his left hand through a window and hurt it so badly that violin was no option anymore. So he signed up for the army, pretending to be older than fifteen. So he went from playing music in to the army; he never spoke about that time very much but it wasn’t a very nice time.

So he came through the army first to Scotland, he was on a boat to protect the transport on the ocean from Murmansk in Russia to Scotland and then all those Indonesian guys came to Holland after the war, they still were in the army, so that’s how my father met my mother because she was a nurse somewhere where all those guys were, and they got married and this is the result. In the army he played guitar, piano, he sang and he had a big band. There was always music from all kinds of sources in the house where I grew up, from classical to Elvis. It comes from my father. When I was thirteen I had my first amateur band.

Jan Frederik Bausch, second from left, 1947

Me: So you started out as a drummer originally?

Art: Yes. As a small boy I was sitting next to the drummer from my father’s big band, we were in the Dutch part of New Guinea. My father rehearsed with his big band every Sunday in an airplane hangar, I was sitting next to the drummer with my sticks at 5 or 6 years of age.

Me: Were you in bands with your brother at the age of thirteen?

Art: No, my brother was a couple of years older than me, he was a very talented guy, he discovered for me Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, Otis Reading and the old blues guys, that’s what I learnt from him. That was my start, which was a good one. Blue Planet was my first proper band, when I was just eighteen. Peter the bass player was seventeen. My brother and the guitar player met and they had a thing going while I was just playing at an amateur level. They were already rehearsing and working on the heavy stuff, Zeppelin, Free, and then one Sunday evening they came while I was playing with my band at that time in a very small venue in Leiden,  I was still living with my mother at the time, and suddenly I saw Peter and my brother and Art the guitar player there on the side of the stage and then I knew they were going to ask me. That was exciting.

I was not the first choice of drummer. They were not happy with the first guy, Jack Wolf. He wasn’t in to their groove, I met him shortly afterwards and he was very angry. Ron and Aad had a very clear idea of what they wanted by did not always agree with each other, they were both very talented guys and both had big egos which often came into conflict with each other. But it worked for a short while, we only existed for two years, three months.

Me: What clubs/gigs were you going to back then? What was the life like then?

Peter: The Hague was rock city #1 in the '60s (link) , with clubs and bars were everybody met after gigs, like The Scala, Club 192, The Factory and De Drie Stoepen [The Three Sidewalks].
In The Scala, drummers, bass players and guitarist all had their own corners. In Scheveningen (link)   there was The Flying Dutchman, you could see the bands playing by looking through the upper windows, the club was below street level. On the beach in Scheveningen were lots of people playing all kinds of instruments, mostly blues, I started playing the blues harp in 1966.

It was all great fun, we were young, and there were lots of things to do both in The Hague and Scheveningen. The well-known bands from The Hague were The Motions (Rudy Bennet and Robbie van Leeuwen later in Galaxy-Lin with me), Golden Earring, The Tielman Brothers, Shocking Blue.

I saw Fleetwood Mack playing in Club 192 back in 1968 even got their autographs in the dressing room, Jerremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood etc.

Blue Planet all rehearsed in a place called "Het Kraajenest" in de Jan Vossensteeg in Leiden, among other local bands from Leiden. The reason for forming this band, was the first album of Led Zeppelin, in a week we played all the songs from the album. Also of inspiration were J Geils band and Love, Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape.

Me: Why the name "Blue Planet"?

Peter: During that period we all watched rockets go into space and, also to the moon (Bowie sang it; "planet earth is blue, and there's nothing"….in Space Oddity, later that year). It was a catchy and short name. Here in Holland bands changed their names; The Golden Earrings became Golden Earring etc.

Art: We started as opening band for Golden Earring. Their first appearance after their first American tour, and they had just changed from being a commercial band to what they are nowdays. They were getting very heavy, and our manager at that time arranged their homecoming gig in The Hague which was sold out of course, and we were the opening act. We played only for 35-40 minutes, to an audience of 2000 people. Bearing in mind that I had just come from playing gigs in Leiden to only 50 people. When we finished our set, George Kooymans and Rinus Gerritsen from Earring asked us to play their whole tour which was in 1970, it was 36 gigs in a row, with one evening off, at that time I learnt much.

Being professional is what I learnt from those guys. They were big and they had hits. Me and Peter were just enjoying the hard work. We had no money at all. My mother kept the band alive by feeding us and buying us equipment, we got a loan from my mother for a drum kit, that’s the way it was. The start of Blue Planet was just like a fairy tale, Golden Earring’s manager was also their producer, he said that BP was special, we had a sound, and he recorded "I’m going Man I’m Going" and produced our three singles. This guy was so big in the music world, he knew “This is gonna work”, and it worked, we went into the hit parade, and we had work.

Me: How did you get the gig with Golden Earring in the first place? That’s quite an achievement for a young new band.

Art: Because our manager at that time, Henk van Leeuwen, came from The Hague and he knew all those guys. He was very smart and he had a view. We played all weekend, Monday was our day off and Tuesday until Thursday we rehearsed, starting each day at 9am and leaving at 5pm. He told us we have to work hard. So after the Golden Earring tour we went to the studio and recorded “I’m Going Man” and “Nothing In The World”. The machine started working from Fred Haayen’s side (Earring manager) and the booking agency, and we had at that time the pirate music stations out at sea.

Freddy told us “this single is too long” and we said “this is what we have, we are not going to make a sale from two minutes and twenty seconds”. In the end everybody on the radio stations was playing I’m Going Man I’m Going haha. I still meet people when i’m out playing who ask me about my past and what my first band was, and I tell them I was in Blue Planet and they say “woo man, that was the first single I bought” haha.

Me: Was one of those pirate stations Radio Veronica?

Art: Yes, and the Red Bullet agency, Freddy Haayen, they had all kinds of business connections, and they were also rebels, who understood the need to get this music out there. They were very smart, they made a lot of money but also gave a lot of bands the chance to be on the air.

Me: Was it Freddy that negotiated Blue Planet signing to the Philips label? Many other Dutch bands I like were also on Philips.

Art: Yes at that time they were very progressive.

Me: Did Fred have a lot of input in your recording of the singles?

Art: Yes. First you give in a tape with the number and you say this is what we’re gonna do. Fred was very good in feeling the energy of the band and he didn’t want to change too much, he was very good.

Me: Did he suggest things in the studio to improve songs or did he come up with original ideas?

Art: He added the mellotron in I’m Going Man I’m Going. We were the first band with a mellotron as it was a new thing then. It was in the studio and he suggested using it.

Me: Who was playing the mellotron?

Art: It was a well known jazz pianist Cees Schrama.

Me: Did you talk to Cees much or did he just come in and do his own thing?

Art: It was different at those times, when those guys came in there was more animosity. He was not a studio player, you know, “Let me hear the number”, “OK, I think I do this, maybe that”. And we were all there, yeah it was quite an experience. We were living as rebels in hippy times, Rock n’ Roll...

Me: And he was from the more old-fashioned way of doing things?

Art: You could think at the time “You work in an office”, that’s what we thought, everybody with a suit was an office guy haha.

Me: Can you tell me about the 1970 TV clip of "I'm Going Man I'm Going"?

Art: It was late 1970, this was a promotion project named "Beat Behind The Dikes" to help Dutch groups to go international, directed by Bob Rooyens. It was recorded in Hilversum, and also outside on lake IJsselmeer.


After looking into "Beat Behind The Dikes", I found that other bands appearing included Golden Earring, Shocking Blue and Earth & Fire.



Me: So we have spoken quite a lot about your first single, do you have any favourite songs, like Boy or Climb The Mountain?

Art: Climb The Mountain is my favourite, of the ones we recorded. My brother came up with the lyrics, and he sings it very nice.

Me: Yes I do like your brother’s emotive singing on all the tracks, and his lyrical stories, one of the great things about the band. Who was the main song writer?

Art: My brother came with the rough guitar parts, then Aad would come in with suggestions. After that it would go to the rehearsal room where the whole band would have equal say in finishing it off. Everybody was at that time equal. Like I’m Going Man I’m Going, the first two chords are mine. And then the rest came, Pete had ideas....It was the new era, “We are all equal, and we are gonna change the world” and all that bullshit haha.

Me: Well, it worked for a while at least I guess!

Art: Yes, it worked for two years, don’t forget at that age there was a lot of dope going on, it was almost free, a couple of guys in the band enjoyed it very much...

Me: A bit too much?

Art: Yeah, Yeah and they went on to LSD, and speed, and blow. Everyone was going to change the world on LSD. I’ve been there once but I left, I thought “This is a crazy world, this is not my thing”.

Me: Yes abusing drugs usually ends badly.

Art: At that time, for example in Holland, Golden Earring was a totally clean band, they didn’t even get drunk. It was all healthy. And look at them now, they are on top of the world.

Me: Yes it’s respectable to be able to do that really. It’s very easy to give in to these temptations, especially when you’re in that atmosphere, of clubs and groupies and what have you.

Art: Yeah, and a lot of people come up to you “Eh, Eh do you want a pill, do you want a sniff?”. Not for me. That was that time you know, it was total anarchy.

Me: Sure, much more so than now.

Art: It’s also important for our story, as especially my brother and Aad, were doing a lot of speed which is a lot of fun when you are young and you can go for a day or four or five but it wears you out you know, and then they were finished, but there was drive in the band, we thought we were the best in the world you know. “We’re gonna make it”, but reality says we didn’t play sixteen times a month, we played four or five times.

Me: You think that's one of the reasons you didn’t last very long in the end was you weren’t playing enough?

Art: Yeah there was a lack of money, and those two egos of Ron and Aad were too big. They were quite arrogant.

Me: They used to argue?

Art: Yes. Later when the band was finished, years later, then you realise, talking to people, even now, going to my home town, people talk about “Do you remember that concert in the park? Beautiful weather, and you started at twelve o’clock in the night and you ended at three”. People remember. It had something special as a band, we gave a lot from the stage, there was energy.

Me: Can you tell us about the last single, 1971’s Times and Changes?

Art: It was our last record, it didn’t make an impression, nobody was interested. At that time there was no work, little money, our manager wasn’t getting things going. I called everybody together and said “This is the end, this is not what I want”, at that time I was very busy and I didn’t see a future. Aad was starting to get interest from other bands, and that was the moment it was finished.

1971 newspaper article, the band are quoted as saying their
third (and ultimately final) single "Times and Changes" is to
be in a less heavy style, with the goal of reaching a wider
audience. It also says that the band got good responses
playing in both France and Germany.

Me: I consider their final single to have a slight country influence, further away from hard rock than the previous two, but both the sides are great and really grow on you. American country rock was popular in Holland at the time. Bands such as Normaal and Dizzy Man's Band were introducing it into their songs. Mailer Mackenzie Band (listen) made two albums and were actually signed to US label Ampex, with reviewers comparing them to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Members of the band had a couple of links with Aad and Peter W. of Blue Planet, via The InCrowd, Big Wheel and The Motions.

Marc Joseph says of this style. "Southern/country rock was really popular in Holland in the late '60s/early '70s. Bands who were virtually unknown in the rest of the world were playing to sold out venues in Holland. Flying Burrito Brothers even received a gold album while in the US they were playing for 100-200 people."


Did Aad play on your last single single or did you have a replacement at the end?

Art: No, it was Aad. All three singles are with the same, original lineup.

Me: I read that a new guitarist came in at the end of the band's life, is that correct?

Art: Yes that is correct, our manager brought in Peter Dingemans to replace Aad. Very good player, at the time he was 22 with a wife and child, trying to decide if wanted to be a professional musician, but the magic was gone. The energy and the drive was gone.

Me: So Aad was the first guy to leave?

Art: Yes. He was a little bit older, he had played in Germany in night clubs and he had become a well respected guitarist in the Hague scene. He was also a guy who wanted to drive sports cars, and I found out years later that our manager was paying him a separate weekly wage that the rest of us did not know about. It was a dark side to Aad.

Me: Did he leave Blue Planet to go and play for another band?

Art: Yes, he played in a group who was from a record company, called Think Tank. And those guys were on the payroll. The record company had a lot of money for Think Tank, and those guys had nothing to do with Blue Planet, it was a commercial thing to make money. It was a different style of music as well, not as appealing to me.

Me: How long did the band last after Peter Dingemans joined?

Art: Around five or six months, and then it was over. It was a marriage which was doomed along with the band. A nice guy and a good player but from a different musical background.

Me: What background was he from?

Art: He was from a more hippy “be nice to each other” way of thinking and we were more arrogant. In Holland we had the nickname “the Dutch Zep”, the looks, the appearance on stage, we were the boss.

Me: So you decided that you were going to leave before the band broke up?

Art: I called everyone together and we had a meeting in a restaurant with the manager, I said “Boys it is over and I quit, I don’t see any future any more” and that was the end.

Me: Did you have songs that were never released or never recorded?

Art: No

Me: Why didn’t you make an album?

Art:  We got off to a great start with the I’m Going Man I’m Going single but didn’t keep the momentum. But of the lack of playing and lack of money, and the two egos who were in conflict all the time, we just never got to that point.

Me: Can you tell us about the equipment that you used?

Art: I had a West End hand-made drum kit which I couldn’t afford, my mother lent me the money. The drummer from Golden Earring drummer, Jaap Eggermont, who became a big producer, had a West End while we were opening for them. I went to the Hague and “West End” is the name of the street in English. There was a man who makes drum kits, a lot of Dutch drummers at that time played on a hand-made West End kit, they were beautiful, and very collectible now. I don’t have it any more.

Me: And the other guys?

Art: Peter Wassenaar had a Fender bass with an Orange combo. Aad played on a Marshal 200W double stack, he started with a Strat and then changed to a Gibson SG, a hard rock icon at the time.

Me: You mentioned Fred Haayen, he produced another band that I like called Cobra (see Vol111).

Art: Yes, same era, Cobra had this English singer, Winston Gawk. He was a very outgoing person on stage, while my brother Ron was a very introvert person, he didn’t move much, he just stood there and sang beautiful, his appearance was important to him. We played together on a few gigs, which definitely would have been at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, at least once. A big venue where you had to play.

Peter Wassenaar   -   Art Bausch   -   Ron Bausch   -   Aad Van Der Kreeft

The Leidsch Dagblad newspaper printed a story that on 10th July 1971 Blue Planet played a festival in Meerlo, with Cobra, Livin' Blues, Brainbox, Focus and Jug Session Group among others. All great bands, showing what circles Blue Planet were mixing in.

Me: Do you remember Big Wheel? I ask because their music reminds me a little of Blue Planet.

Art: Yes, Rob van der Zwan the guitarist was a very big fan of my brother, and at the same time as we had I’m Going... they had the single "If I Stay Too Long". The story on that single was that the producer sang on that single, not the singer Cyril Havermans.

Me: Cyril Havermans sang in Focus later on.

Art: Yes, that’s the circuit Blue Planet were into at that time, we did festivals with Focus, Cuby + Blizzards, Golden Earring. Are you interested in a Dutch group called the Shoes? They had 26 hits! They were older than us, they started off as young guys going to Germany when they were all around sixteen years of age, they did all the hard work you know? It’s so different now days, I was talking to a professional drummer in his thirties and he plays with whoever calls, you know, but in the early days you had a band, it was not done to play with other guys.

Me: I guess you have to be adaptable to make some money, play with a few different bands.

Art: Yes, but you lose your identity.

Me: Are you aware of a split single that Philips released with Big Wheel and Blue Planet?

Art: No, not at all! Someone clever obviously put that one out. I know the drummer Shell Schellekens a little, at that time we admired each other’s drumming.

Me: I’m Going... reached position sixteen in the Dutch hit parade, was that your biggest success?

Art: Yes, but we could have come higher up. But because of the long time it took for I’m Going to reach a high position, Philips decided not to press any more copies. In that week we could have entered the top ten, but It was not available any more.

Me: So it sold-out basically? Why would the label let that happen to a successful song?

Art: It happened because the labels become impatient, and decide to dedicate resources to newer releases. If they had been more patient with us we would have hit the top ten and things could have been very different for us...

Ron Bausch c.1976
Art: Another story also, my brother’s appetite for drugs was large and he had developed addictions. After Blue Planet he didn’t do anything. We tried to get him back on his feet, the family you know.

Me: So he was burnt out? He never worked in music again?

Art: He had plans, but he was going down and down. He never got out of it and he died at age 36 in 1983.

Me: I’m sorry to hear that Art, a cautionary tale.

Bassist Peter had this to say regarding Ron at the time they met: "Ron Bausch was a photo model and a singer with an extremely high vocal range. he was very thin and tall and drove an Austin mini cooper, he was what they then called a 'dandy', and always very sharply dressed"

The Leidsch Dagblad newspaper in 6th Februari 1976 had an article saying that Ron Bausch was in contact with record labels and had arranged a BP reunion LP. Clearly this never came to anything before he died.

Cinderella in 1971
Have you heard of the band Cinderella, that made a single in 1971?

Art: Yes, I did studio work with them on their first single, together with Aad and Peter. That was while Blue Planet was still going. I’ve been seen it on Youtube.

Me: Did you guys write the single or were you just brought it to the session?

Art: The main girl, Betty Raadgever wrote it. Their producer, Gerrit Jan Leenders, I did other work for him too. That’s how that started. My memory is good, especially of that period. Everything was so intense and every day was a party.

We take a brief diversion here to read some responses that Cinderella's Betty Raadgever kindly gave for this article.

Betty Raadgever
Me: Hi Betty, did Cinderella make any more music other than the single?

Betty: Cinderella did make more songs, but they are not recorded on a album, unfortunately. And of course I wrote a lot of songs after Cinderella for my other bands: Eyeliner and The Betty Ray Experience.

Me: I spoke to Art Bausch. I asked him about your Cinderella single and he confirmed that he, Peter and Aad Kreeft played on it. Did Blue Planet play on both sides?

Betty: Blue Planet played on both sides of the single, but I wrote the lyrics and music. Aad was a good friend of mine and we knew the other guys from Leiden/Oegstgeest, where we all came from. A very good band, Blue Planet!

Me: Did the other guys in Cinderella play or sing on it too (Renee, Bernardien, Nico)?

Betty; The singers on the record are Betty, Bernardien and Renee in the chorus. I am singing the lead, and the b-side, "The Love That We've Go", Bernardien sings. The guys from BP played all the music.

Me: Did Cinderella break up for any reason or did it change into a different band?

Betty: After four years I choose to switch bands and became lead singer of a hard rock band called "For Shame". Cinderella was over... After the hard rock period I had four other female groups: Trevira 2000, Eyeliner, Nasty Girls and The Betty Ray Experience. The other Cinderella members stopped playing in bands.

Me: Thanks Betty!

And back to Art...

Me: You were in the Oscar Benton Blues band after Blue Planet?

Art: Yes, straight after Blue Planet. We leave for Istanbul on the 9th of June 2015 and play on the 10th. Then we have a day sight-seeing and come back on the 12th. The youngest in that band is sixty three and the oldest is sixty eight haha. Can you imagine? This man made one major hit called "Bensonhurst Blues (1973)", used in French movie Pour la Peau d'un Flic (link) in 1981. He sold eleven million singles in Eastern Europe and Italy and France. But the man is not very healthy now, he is only 65. Three years ago came a German agency, saying hey, we want Oscar in Bucharest, and in Russia. Next we play in Istanbul. We will play an hour and fifteen minutes then an encore and that’s it. We are payed in advance and everything is payed for, we are very pampered. They only think we have to do is play well. It’s really fun. I originally played with those guys from 1972 to 1975, they are real friends, we kept in touch. Three years ago we got together again to play Bucharest, it would have been nice to be taken care of like that back in 1970!

I stopped being professional in 1990. The year before I was working from Monday to Friday in bands.

Me: can you name any other important bands you were in while you were a pro musician?

Art: Living Blues from 86 until 1990. I have also had my own bands, I had an old fashioned 12 piece soul band and we played the old stuff, the singer in this band was the singer in my first band from 1963, a guy from Indonesia. We did the old soul stuff you know; Otis Reading, which is the music I grew up with, is in my heart, this is what I want to do. So at the moment I am with Oscar Benton, I have another band called Johnny Feelgood (link).  This is a band that consists of six guys of similar ages who are all in other bands. My third band is called The Blues Factory (link), I am the oldest in that band with the rest aged down to 35, which makes it interesting. I am still ambitious but not to play 17 times a month.

Me: Did you ever stop playing to start a different career?

Art: Yes, in the early ‘80s I stopped because I was fed up with the whole thing, I sold my kits. But after 3-4 years I felt the urge to play again.

Me: What work did you do then?

Art: Since the late ‘80s to this day I have been a self-employed handy man. I have a van and a lot of experience by now, so I am very busy with that.

Me: Do you have any more Blue Planet stories to tell?

Art: Blue Planet was playing in Germany in the ‘70s. We all had long hair. During the day when we were just walking around we got a lot of shouts at us about being gay, and being weak. It did not happen while playing in the venues but it was from the general public, away from the scene. We were bullied on the streets.

Me: I guess it no different to anti-hippy sentiment that you could have experienced in any country back then. German, the UK, America, anywhere. Ironically German had many great rock bands back then, with long hair too haha!

Art: Our attitude was that we were going to change the world, no more politicians, we will look after ourselves. What happened?

Me: That dream didn’t work out in the end did, unfortunately.

Art: You can’t change the mechanism, you can’t change the system.

Me: You can’t change human nature. I guess things will always come back down to the same greed and self-preservation, it’s easy to see what’s wrong with that but I guess it’s also survival instinct that will always be there to some degree.

Art: I do what I can to make the world a better place and help people, that’s all you can do!

Well, many thanks to Art, Peter and Betty for making this article possible. Enjoy the music of these great musicians of the golden age of rock...
Rich

Art drumming in the Oscar Benton Band c.2013

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